The band business, of course, fell off after the election was over, but the majority of the men played in the different theatres around town. Mr. Biessenhertz was leader of English's Opera House Orchestra, where Rogers played during the winter, and as some of the big shows that required an enlarged orchestra demanding two cornets not infrequently came to the house, Rogers put in a request that I should be engaged and play beside him.
This, of course, would give needed experience in the music game, but I think that what impressed me the most favorably was finding myself placed so unexpectedly in close playing juxtaposition with my ideal cornet player, whose ease in playing I was striving to imitate, and hear him play in such near proximity. This not only proved to be actually instructive, but afforded me a glorious chance to watch, listen and improve my own playing by example. Even though I now was playing one hundred per cent better than ever before, the situation inspired me to still further ambition, so I kept on practicing and working hard, improving wonderfully and devoting my whole time and thought to the study of music.
My brother Ed finished his Boston summer engagement and came home in the fall, and, being as ambitious as Ern and myself, he practiced all day long on his violin while we were doing the same with our instruments. Ed's coming home once more brought we three brothers together in home contact with our father, and living in a fairly large house each had his own room for practicing and playing - father at the piano, Ed on his violin, Ern on his trombone, and myself on the cornet. The neighbors on each side of us (it was a corner house, by the way, on Alabama and Michigan Streets) most certainly must have gained their full share of noise from four different instruments all going at the same time, for many were the unsigned notes dropped into our letter box calling us a "nuisance to the community." I guess they were right, but we were too deeply immersed in our music to pay any attention to anonymous letters, and cared little so long as the police didn't interfere and give us warning.
I often have wondered how our good mother ever stood for the frightful din we must have constantly created, but that's away "good" mothers generally have. With the exception of our father none of us played any too musically, and the continual playing of scales and exercises could not have been very entertaining to a disinterested listener. Of course, we kept all our windows closed, but even so the anonymous missives kept coming, only in fewer numbers, some of the neighbors evidently becoming used to the raket, or else moving away from it.